Sungrebe

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Sungrebe
Conservation status: Secure
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Gruiformes
Family:Heliornithidae
Genus:Heliornis
Species:H. fulica
Binomial name
Heliornis fulica
Boddaert, 1783

The Sungrebe, (Heliornis fulica), is a bird which breeds in tropical Central and South America from southern Mexico to northeast Argentina and southern Brazil.

It is the only member of the genus Heliornis (Bonnaterre, 1791), and the Heliornithidae family to which it belongs contains just two other species, the African Finfoot, Podica senegalensis, and the Masked Finfoot Heliopais personata, which breeds in eastern India down through southeast Asia to the Wallace Line.

These tropical birds of swamps and marshes have webbed lobes on their feet similar to grebes and coots.

The Sungrebe is a small slim-bodied water bird, typically 28-31 cm long and weighing 130 g. It is mainly brown, with a long neck and blackish tail, and a long red bill. The crown and neck are strikingly patterned with black and white stripe, and the feet are black and yellow. The sexes differ in the colour of the cheeks, buff in the female and white for the male.

They are shy birds which swim in slow-flowing streams and secluded waterways, sometimes partly submerged, like an Anhinga. They dive well, but rarely fly unless alarmed. The twig nest is built low in a bush over water; three or four brown-mottled cinnamon eggs are laid, and incubated for about 11 days.

The Sungrebe feeds on a variety of aquatic life. fish and water plants. It is usually silent, but has a breeding season honking call, eeooo eeooo eeooo.


Reference

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